This ain’t your grandpa’s old Buick. At least that is how Buick-GMC Chief Duncan Aldred hopes you will feel about the new line of more modern Buick automobiles. In an effort overhaul Buick’s image of being an old-fogey car, General Motors and Buick have launched five new 30-second commercial spots centered on people failing to recognize a sleek new vehicle as a Buick. It is no accident that these new spots come just in time for the NCAA Football season because Buick is a NCAA sponsor who has launched a full frontal assault on a younger and more active demographic.
Aldred, a 44-year old native of Great Britain and the former head of GM’s Vauxhall brand in the United Kingdom, is doubling down this week with several more promotional spots featuring people who just can’t wrap their heads around the fact that they are looking at a Buick.
The spots are created by lead ad agency Leo Burnett and they all maintain the same familiar theme. In one commercial a surprise party is foiled because partygoers are on the lookout for a Buick. When the “surprisee” is finally recognized exiting her stylish Buick Verano, one attendee exclaims, “That is not a Buick” and another enquires as to what type of car it is; the voiceover notes that the Verano is one of five expectation-shattering new designs from Buick. Nielsen has the new commercial spots ranked as Buick’s highest rated in many years.
If that sounds like pretty good stuff, then you can understand why Buick is experiencing its best sales in years with figures increasing by 12-percent through July of 2014 (versus 5-percent for the rest of the industry). Despite no major vehicle launches Buick has experienced the best sales performance ratings of any GM brand.
Sources point to a redesigned 2014 Buick Regal sedan as the brand’s most exciting entry, also noting that Buick’s revitalized showrooms aided in attracting additional non-GM customers.
Leading the way for Buick’s 32-percent conquest rate (second quarter) is the popularity of their small crossover SUV, known as the Buick Encore. The compact SUV has seen sales figure increases of 80-percent, through July of this year. That is pretty impressive when you consider that a record 1-million Encore vehicles were sold in 2013, with three quarters of that volume coming from sales in China. So far this year Buick sales have out paced those in China.
With momentum already headed in Buick’s direction, a few fresh product releases could help to solidify the new image. A U.S. version of the mid-size crossover Buick Envision that was unveiled in China last month is slated for release in 2015 and a Buick badged Opel Cascada convertible is in the works for 2016.
While Buick is attracting GM, Ford, Honda, and Toyota owners, Aldred is looking for something that could attract the Audi, Acura, and Infiniti crowd. Maybe the new Buick Regal Grand National and Buick Regal Grand Sport models, due out sometime between now and 2017 will be just the thing to draw not only Audi owners but also BMW and Mercedes-Benz owners, as well. However these great looking high-performance Buicks shake out you can bet on one thing, they won’t look like your typical hum-drum Buick.